Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Swarner it with Lancitude!

As I completed my second and last 12 mile training run for the half marathon, the hot sun beat down on me and glared in my eyes teasing me to quit. "It is too hot, there is too much glare, my muscles are tired," were the echoes of my inner voice. Without the ability to keep fired up with a good song playing on an ipod (I have total deafness), it really becomes a mental challenge to keep the body going.

I reflected on 2 endurance athletes/survivors who endured greater challenges and kept "in the game". These people defied insurmountable odds....true champions: Sean Swarner and Lance Armstrong.

Approaching the last 2 miles (which is the real test to keep going), I pondered their philosophies, motivations, attitudes, the good they set out to do, and what they strive to represent. As I mulled over these ideas in search of the inspiration to keep running, I came up with the new motto "Swarner it with Lancitude".

Let me explain:

"Swarner it"
- Sean Swarner, founder of the Cancer Climber Association (www.cancerclimber.org) is the first cancer survivor to summit Mt. Everest. And he did not stop there. He continued until he reached the highest summit of EVERY continent in the world! Further, he overcame his own adversity by accomplishing the feat with a partial lung! Can you imagine?

He had a good excuse to say "I can't" but instead he said "I will"!

What stuck out most in my mind is Sean's final climb in 2007 on our own continent....Denali in Alaska. When climbing at such altitudes, one does not have a lot of control over the weather conditions. On his first 2 attempts, the weather beat down hard on he and his team making an ascent just too dangerous!

Discouraged and disappointed he may have let down cancer patients and people counting on him, he vowed to stay at the mountain and not return home until he reached the summit. On his third ascent, I recall him describing his heels as raw "bloody stumps" but he was not about to back down...No siree! He kept right on a climbing until he conquered that mountain, carrying his flag with the names of cancer patients to the top. Sean's motto and words of wisdom on the autographed picture I have sitting on my desk I always hold dear, "No matter what your goal, never lose sight, never lose focus, and always Keep Climbing!"

To see a fabulous video featuring Sean and footage from his climb, visit the following youtube link:

- What can I say? Lance Armstrong just lets nothing stop him! He truly knows how to "Live Strong". True that he was born with an incredible physiology which has enabled him to become the Tour de France world champion (and even he will admit that). But when it comes to cancer, it is all about attitude. He did not have it easy either. What started below the belt, spread all the way to his brain! Brain cancer is a tough one....the odds are not exactly favorable in the arena of cancer. But he did not let that stop him..no way! After completion of his treatment, he came back to win the Tour de France again! Now that is determination and an incredible attitude or perseverence!

So did I finish the run? Yup! 12 miles in roughly 1 hour 57-58 minutes.

Easter week I completed my highest week of mileage in the 4 months of training at 28 miles. I even ran Saturday morning while on vacation at the beach in Pacific City, Oregon...in high winds and drizzle/showers!

I have begun my taper now as the half marathon is next weekend, May 3rd. Last week I cut back to 22 miles and this week I will be cutting all the way back to 18!

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